Truckee, Tahoe connected to Iraq by local soldiers | SierraSun.com

Truckee, Tahoe connected to Iraq by local soldiers

David Bunker
Sierra Sun
Photo Illustration/Sierra SunHeather Harris, above, was a convoy commander in Iraq. Bill Krissoff, right, a 61-year-old surgeon with a practice in Truckee, signed up to serve as a combat medic after his son Nathan Krissoff, bottom, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006.
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Five years after “shock and awe” and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, half a decade of war in Iraq is felt more than ever in Truckee and Tahoe.

The cost is much more than the estimated $500 billion the conflict has already eaten out of the U.S. budget. A much deeper toll is hinted at in the subtleties of local life.

There’s the shuttered doctor’s office where Bill Krissoff used to tend his Truckee patients. Krissoff, 61, shipped off to military combat medic training after the war took the life of his eldest son in 2006.

Nathan Krissoff, a Truckee native who grew up at Northstar, was killed by a roadside bomb in al-Anbar province while riding in a Humvee. He was 25, a First Lieutenant in the Marines.

There’s Adam Pepper, a Truckee resident who returned from desert combat with the indelible images of five of his friends being gunned to death seared into his memory. In an interview with the Sierra Sun during leave from Iraq, Pepper said that despite treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a full night’s sleep and moments of relaxation were hard to come by.

“When I fist got back, I was freaking out a lot,” said Pepper in a 2007 interview with the Sun.

And Mike Thornton, a North Tahoe High graduate, suffered second- and third-degree burns to his knees face and hands, after his Humvee was hit by two explosives outside Baghdad.

There are many others ” Josh Maehler, Chris Bowman, Heather Harris to name a few ” who have felt first-hand the realities of war.

Firefighters, convoy commanders, marine corporals ” each with a story of daily heroism, dangerous missions, tragedy and triumph. And each story connects Truckee and Tahoe with a distant desert, and a war that continues on into its sixth year.